by Pat Goss
One of the more important aspects of designing an automobile these days is the aerodynamics - you see aerodynamics, or the way the air moves over the vehicle, controls all sorts of things: first it gives the engineers and the designers the ability to make the car look good, but further than that it affects handling of the automobile, it affects engine cooling, fuel economy; all sorts of things are controlled by how effectively the car moves through the air.
There are a lot of things that can go wrong as a result of upsetting the way air flows around the car. [The small piece from] the front bumper of the super Alfa, who knows exactly what it would do at speed? It could seriously upset the way the air moves around the front of the car and that could cause some serious handling problems.
But more typical is what we see here. We have this lower valance that has been pulled loose. This often happens in parking lots-you pull over one of those concrete stops, and then when you back off-well, the valance or the front spoiler, it hooks on it and it pulls it loose, lots of times it tears it right off the car, and some of them are up under where you don’t notice them and the result is well, if you don’t fix it you may have overheating problems or your air conditioner might not work properly or lots of other possibilities.
Now that also holds true of these, lot of people refer to these as belly pans, they’re the plastic or sometimes metal pans that are underneath the engine of the car, some of them are pretty larger, you know, eight or ten times the size of this one. But fact is that these are there to direct airflow underneath the car. Now, if you change oil you have to take this off on a lot of cars, and some people well, they say it’s not that important-and they throw it away, they think of it as a nuisance. Well, don’t do that, because it does serve a function!
But here’s the one that really gets people into trouble: this is a battery box or battery cover, it goes around the battery and it does a couple of things; it insulates the battery against excessive heat but more importantly it channels air around the battery in such a manner that the air from the battery doesn’t get onto electrical items around the battery. [One example is] a [damaged] fuse and relay panel. On the underside of it we can see that there’s a lot of corrosion- that’s because somebody took the battery cover off, they threw it away, and the fumes which have a lot of acid in them- the fumes from the battery now attack the electrical connectors, major repair! So never throw any of these things away if you want your car to work properly for the long haul.
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